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Sambo Dasuki

ECOWAS Court Orders Immediate Release of Dasuki… Fines Nigeria N15mn over Detention

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The Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Court has ordered immediate release of former National Security Adviser, Colonel Muhammadu Sambo Dasuki from detention where he has been kept without trial since December 2015.

The regional court held that the detention of Dasuki violated both national and international laws on the right of persons and citizens to freedom of liberty.

In a judgement by the court and delivered by Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke, the ECOWAS Court imposed a fine of N15,000,000 against Nigeria as compensatory damages to the former National Security Adviser for the deprivation of his freedom to liberty and own properties.

In a judgment that lasted over one hour, the regional court dismissed the allegations of unlawful possession of firearms and economic crimes allegedly committed by Dasuki adding that the Nigeria government missed the track because the applicant applied before the court for the enforcement of his breached and contravention of fundamental right.

Justice Nwoke said that even if the applicant had committed a crime, the law still has it that due process of the law must be observed in his trial adding that, it is an established fact that the applicant was put on trial in three different Nigeria High Courts and was granted bails by the courts.

The court said that the action of the Nigerian government in subjecting the Ex-NSA to detention without trial is condemnable because criminality has not been established against him.

Justice Nwoke further said that the Nigerian government took laws into its hands and made mockery of the rule of law by arresting the applicant without warrant of arrest or warrant of detention when he had legally been granted bail by the appropriate courts.

According to the court, detention order must be made in writing and must be delivered to the detainees adding that in the instance case none of such was obtained and delivered to Dasuki by the Federal Government before arresting and executing and forcefully took away properties of the applicant in his house in Abuja and Sokoto.

The court also dismissed the claim of the Federal Government that Dasuki was arrested and detained in his own interest. Adding that,  the claim was an assault to the Nigerian Constitution and other international laws because there was no iota of evidence placed before the court that applicant applied for security protection.

Beside, the ECOWAS Court said that the claim of the Nigerian Government that Dasuki was detained in his own interest was against the claim made by the same government that the applicant was arrested and detained because he constituted a security threat to the Nigerian nation and having also committed some Economic Crimes.

The court held that the claim that Dasuki was detained in his own interest was unreasonable and that Nigeria being under a democratic government where the rule of law is expected to be protected ought to act within the ambit of the law since every nation is subject to the rule of law.

The Judge said: “Having perused the case before us, we have come to the conclusion that the re-arrest and detention of the applicant after he had been granted bail by three courts since last year make mockery of the rule of law. Executive arm should not interfere with the judiciary”

“Even if the applicant has committed crimes of whatever nature, the principle of innocence must be respected and the fact that he has been charged to court does not dis-entitle him to freedom of liberty… Courts must rise to their responsibilities and prevent executive lawlessness.

“It is the applicant today; it could be anybody tomorrow. There is no legal basis for the re-arrest of the applicant other than to circumvent the bails granted by courts. We have no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that the purported search warrant claimed to have been obtained by the Nigerian government was an afterthought aimed at perverting the cost of justice because the so-called search warrant was not certified and to worsen the case the defendant claimed that it could not serve the same search warrant on the applicant”

“For the avoidance of doubt, anybody who commit crimes must be put on trial before an appropriate court but in doing so, the state must respect local and international laws in the prosecution of such persons.”

The court therefore declared that the arrest, detention and the continued detention of Dasuki since December 2015 without warrant of arrest was unlawful, arbitrary and done in contravention of both local and international laws especially Article 5 and 6 of the African Charter on People’s and Persons’ Rights to freedom of Liberty.

The court also ordered that the invasion of Dasuki’s house in Abuja and Sokoto and forceful removal of his personal properties violated all the relevant laws, especially the Constitution of Nigeria under Section 37 and 44.

The court therefore ordered immediate release of Dasuki and payment of N15,000,000.00 as compensation to him for his unlawful arrest and detention.

Dasuki had in March 2016 dragged the Federal Government before the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice over his continued detention without trial since December 2015.

Dasuki who was rearrested by the operatives of the Department of State Security Service (DSS) shortly after perfecting the third bail conditions granted him by three Nigerian Courts asked the ECOWAS Court to enforce his fundamental right as enshrined in the African Charter on the People and Human Right.

In the legal action, the former NSA had asked the ECOWAS Court to declare as unlawful and unconstitutional and breached of his fundamental right his arrest since last year without a lawful court order.

The applicant had also prayed the court to declare action of government in keeping him in a dehumanising condition after the bails as unlawful and violation of his right to dignity of human person, privacy and family life guaranteed and protected right under Section 34 and 37 of the Nigerian Constitution and Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right and Article 12 of the Universal of Human Right.

He had also asked the ECOWAS Court to declare the invasion of his privacy, home, and correspondence at his Abuja and Sokoto homes between July 16 and 17, 2015 during Ramadan Fasting and forceful and unlawful seizures of his properties without any lawful order or warrant of a court, constituted a gross violation of his fundamental right under Section 44 of the Nigerian Constitution and other relevant laws.

He had therefore prayed for an order for his release and that of his properties during the invasion of his houses.

Apart from seeking for his release to face adequately charges against in courts, Dasuki also demanded a compensatory damage of N500 million against the government for its egregious violations of his right as guaranteed under the law.

Reacting to the ruling,  Mr. Wale Balogun who stood for Dasuki in Court expressed optimism that the Federal Government being a major stakeholder and signatory to the protocol of the ECOWAS Court will obey and implement the orders issued by the court.

Do you think Buhari will obey this order?

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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20 comments

  1. This is a big shame to the Federal government and all its supporters. Nigeria is supposed to be a democracy but Buhari is ruling like a military dictator. The National Assembly cannot call him to order.

  2. Uwumarogie Johnbull

    Refusal to obey court orders is an impeachable offence. National Assembly take note

  3. Another international humiliation

  4. Buhari is notorious for disobeying orders by local courts. I will not be surprised if he does same to the Ecowas court. He is an unrepentant dictator

  5. Which lie will Lai Mohammed tell us now?

  6. Buhari of 1984 is still the Buhari of today. No change because a leopard cannot change its spot

  7. How can the government claim it is detaining Dasuki in his own interest. Was his life in danger?

  8. We should wait for the reaction of the Federal government. I am sure they will appeal

  9. I trust good sense that he will, after all, he swore to uphold the tenets of our constitution, and that he will not allow his personal biases to interfer in his decisions as President. I believe he is gentleman enough to obey the orders of the court of Nigeria.

    • This is a ruling by Ecowas court. Three different Nigerian courts have earlier granted him bail but Buhari refused to obey, that is what compelled Dasuki to go to the sub-regional court

  10. Ezenwoha Samuel Nwohaeze

    how on earth do you want a dictator, tyrannical president to obey court order OK.

  11. Godswill Terlumun Amatso

    Ask the young women who are now widows in the various military barracks and children who are orphans and you will get the right answers.

    When he was dishing out billions like ATM, did he seek permission from ECOWAS?

    • Has any court convicted him? If the Federal government have evidence against him it should present it in court. In a democracy, Buhari has no right to disobey court orders and detain any Nigerian indefinitely

    • Buharideens do not have patience to grab facts before rushing to defend their latter day idol of democracy.
      Government’s acussation alone is enough for Buharideens to commence their media trial and condemnation of accused persons. None has the patience or the acumen to ask Buhari why he has not been able to commence any credible prosecution procedure against any of his political detainees he is accusing of LOOTING? This is what makes it difficult for one not to label these so called “Buhari supporters” illiterates. Only illiterates hastily jump to make comments on issues before digging to know the crust of the matter.

  12. The decision is not automatically binding on Nigeria, it can be appeal against. Also, the judgement is not on Buhari but on Nigeria state as some now personnalise it. International jury recognise country and not individuals

    • Be realistic. Buhari is the person responsible for his detention. Read the judgement very well. The judges consistently mentioned the Executive arm of the government of Nigeria.

      • And did not specifically mentioned Buhari because govenment is continum if it mentioned Buhari and another president is elected will he be bind by the judgement. My point is the judgement is for Nigeria and not on the personality of the representative

        • Immediately, Buhari ceases to be President, the illegal detention will end. Dasuki is just a victim of Buhari’s vindictiveness and wickedness

        • Mr. Awogbemi Abiodun, if you think the judges were not referring to Buhari in the repeated reference to “the executive arm” can you explain to us whom they were referring to?
          Aren’t we all even supposed to be questioning the legality or otherwise of the continued detention of these people?
          If Buhari government has incriminating evidences against these guys, why not commence their prosecution? How long does it take to prosecute accused LOOTERS in other climes where corruption is being fought?

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